The following interview was posted in the Feb. 5 “First Monday” e-newsletter from diakonia. Lynn Harmening-Marlowe is now a candidate for rostered ministry in the Florida-Bahamas Synod. Find out more about diakonia HERE.
This month: Meet Lynn Harmening-Marlowe
Tell us a little about yourself: I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was baptized and confirmed in the same Lutheran church where my father had been baptized and confirmed. From the age of 15, I was often teased that I should just put a cot in the church since I spent the majority of my waking hours there. In 1997, when I met my wife at church, we found we both had the dream of living in Florida. In 2005, we decided to abandon cold winters, make that dream a reality, and move to sunny Florida.
I always felt I was called to ministry and during the diakonia “Visitation” class my main excuse was dissolved. I had been using the excuse of having severe arthritis to not begin seminary. In the “Visitation” class we had a speaker who was a quadriplegic chaplain. Right then and there I knew I was out of excuses and applied for Candidacy. I now attend Luther Seminary through the Distributive Learning (DL) program. The DL program allows me to live in Florida and take most of my classes online as I prepare for the ministry.
How did you come to know about diakonia? I was attending the Florida Bahamas Synod Assembly when I stumbled upon the diakonia booth during a break. There I met Kathy Richardson. Kathy was quite enthusiastic about the program and that excitement was contagious. I soon found myself enrolled in the diakonia program.
Why did you decide to be a site coordinator? I found myself so excited about the diakonia program that I began to share information about the program with everyone. After offering to work the diakonia booth at the next Synod Assembly, I was given the opportunity to become the Assistant Coordinator for the First Coast Conference (Jacksonville). Then sadly, the current coordinator became ill and requested that I take over the position full-time. I was honored to become the Jacksonville Site Coordinator and to share with others what the diakonia classes could do for them. Now I could walk beside the students watching their growth. I left the position of Site Coordinator in September 2017 due to the demands of seminary, but I still share information about the program whenever possible.
What are the three most important observations you can share about diakonia classes?
- I observed how students change over the two years of classes. It is wonderful to watch a person grow confident in sharing their beliefs. Even a shy person begins to speak up more and volunteer more within their church.
- Another observation is that the discussions become deeper than you could’ve ever imagined. In the small classroom atmosphere, the students become close to one another. This allows the students to feel comfortable while discussing difficult subjects and beliefs.
- The last observation I would like to share is the way these classes challenge you. Your beliefs will be challenged and you will grow through the class subjects and discussions. Throughout this challenge you will become more confident in your beliefs and in your ability to explain why you believe what you believe.
What is your favorite class and why? Introduction to New Testament. This was the first class I took and at first it felt overwhelming. But over the five weeks this class opened my mind to reading and researching the Bible in new ways. The class increased my understanding and increased my thirst for deeper study.
What is one thing about you that would surprise us? Accepting God’s will for my life has never come easy for me. Much like Jonah, my first reaction is to run away!
How can we pray for you? Please pray that as I continue my seminary studies I will find and accept God’s will for my life.